Self publishing! You do it right or spectacularly wrong- your buyers could be your mom and a few coworkers who feel badly for you, or it could take off, sell millions, and land you a movie deal with Ridley Scott.
Bowker updated their stats for the year 2015: 727,000 self-published books up from 2014’s 600,000.
Bowker only counts books with ISBNs, so they could be off. But they can confirm a surge as writers abandon traditional publishing routes.
How in the world does a reader adapt to this? Well, if a book is available for electronic format only, those sales are down. The Association of American Publishers saw a 14% drop in e-book sales in 2015 (compared to the year before). Codex did their own survey and confirmed those findings, reporting e-book sales dropped in 2015. Peter Hicklet-Smith (president of Codex) described this as “digital fatigue.”
This basically means that readers are inundated with options, so they are less likely to read on their devices. I have an old iPad, for instance, that is connected to a Kindle account I share with my husband. I use the iPad for reading some of the time (when travelling) but I prefer to have hard copies. I’d rather run back and forth to the library and have a physical book in my hand, for some reason.
I suppose for writers the lesson is this: have a presence in both physical print and electronic markets. If you’re self-publishing, however, that might be a challenge. Always keep up with the trends, I guess. And I say that without jumping from the self-publishing ledge.